Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

dragon’s blood, grape fruit seed extract and cinnamon, oh my!

May 17, 2010

What on earth could I possibly be talking about right? Well folks, I’m talking about your digestive system here. While I happen to be living in a 3rd world country, I have to admit, it’s a pretty plush life…that is…until you take a little trip. OK, the trip (future blog posting) was pretty plush, however you can’t always expect your food to be entirely safe for your digestive system. Do you get where I am going with this? As a credentialed public health worker, one of the key principle’s you learn is: prevention is key! I have traveled to some pretty remote and according to some, dangerous places on this globe and have never gotten sick. That is, until Latin America. I take full responsibility.

The best preventative measure you can take is washing your hands through out the day, before each meal and first thing when you walk in the door to your abode. The other best thing you can do is use GSE aka, grapefruit seed extract.

This stuff is amazing and kills bacteria like nobody’s business. You can purchase this glorious stuff at almost any health food store. While traveling, take a few drops in the morning and evening with a bit of water. Any questionable foods you may have eaten will no longer be an issue. Wash your veggies with just a few drops in the water and you can be rest assured that most or all of the bacteria is gone. When I recently took a trip through the jungles of Guatemala and Belize one would think that I would naturally bring my GSE right? Wrong! Was it a mistake? YES! Am I suffering? YES!

Two remedies that I have on hand work miracles. Dragon’s Blood (the Chinese herb, Xue Jie) and Cinnamon. If you ever find yourself running to the bathroom often, take cinnamon. It doesn’t matter how. Just take it! I like to have it in a cup of boiled water with a little honey. The results are practically instant!

Last night I took cinnamon and today, I am drinking Dragon’s Blood (Xue Jei). Dragon’s blood is wonderful for digestive problems and topically it can be used as an astringent.

You can buy it in a powder form from any Chinese herb store or acupuncturist. Pour some hot water over it and mix it well. It doesn’t taste too bad either.

So, speaking of all of this digestive stuff…I will be starting a cleanse in the next few days. Very excited about this. More to come!

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The best salmon recipe ever!!!

May 6, 2010

I hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing this one! I needed to take a quick trip back to the states (hence the 12 day absence from my blog) and wanted to make a special dinner for the man since he wouldn’t be joining me. So I thought I would make a good ol’ fashioned, California style dinner. We have a few specialty stores in Antigua (quite expensive though) and after digging through the freezer section, I found salmon and it actually looked decent. The sauce in the recipe is what makes it SO good. Think, Simon and Garfunkel. Gather a lot parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Chop it up and add loads of chopped garlic. What you see below is the amount I use for 2 people (I was not kidding when I said gather a lot!).

Next gather your sauces: balsamic, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame and worcestershire sauce. As usual, I don’t have exact measurements but I tend to use less soy sauce and worcestershire sauce.

OK! Mix the sauces and the chopped herbs together and just smell the aromas (take a bite if you like):

Pour this delicious mixture over your salmon and let it marinate for as long as you have the patience for (I have gone as short as 30 minutes and over night).

Now, we don’t have a bbq, but if you do, it’s so much better bbq’d in a foil boat. I only have an oven that goes no higher than 250F (what the heck is that about?) so I had a slow cooking session with my salmon. If you have normal oven, pre-heat to 350 and place fish inside for 8 minutes. Next, turn it up to a broil and let it give the top of that salmon a nice dose of heat for about 4 minutes (keep you eye on it). Pull it out and voila! A future post will include the pasta recipe you see photographed behind the salmon.

I heart herbs for so many, many reasons.

April 17, 2010

Just as flowers grow from the earth, so the remedy grows in the hands of the physician…the remedy is nothing but a seed which develops into that which it is destined to be.

~Paracelcus


I plan on having several posts on the many uses and benefits of herbs. Nothing beats fresh herbs (or veggies and fruit for that matter) straight from your own garden. Today, I will share the benefits of steaming your herbs for a bath and a facial steam. While I don’t know the science or specifics behind each herb, what I do know is that I notice the benefits and that’s good enough for me. The heat and volatile oils in the steam will help relax your mind, muscles and joints, increase circulation, open and cleanse your pores and nourish your skin.

Take inventory of your herbs and get creative. I gathered these suggested herbal steams (and then added additional herbs) from the book, ‘Herbal Healing”, by Rosemary Gladstar (of course that’s her name!).

The purpose of this bath is to relax your body and assist in alleviating pain in your muscles. For my bath I used:

~Eucalyptos

~fresh Ginger

~Chamomile

~Lavender

~Calendula

~Fennel

~Sage

~Rosemary

I prefer to pour boiling water over the herbs and let them steep for 5 minutes to ensure maximum usage before I pour it into my bath. It’s even better if you add a cup or two of Epson Salt. Amazing!

If you can find the time, it’s best if you can do an herbal facial steam, once each week (so far I am one for one!). A facial steam is your best bet (besides heading to an esthetician) for a deep pore cleanse, resulting in that ‘glow’.

For my facial steam I used:

~Lavender

~Rose petals

~Chamomile

~Rosemary

~Calendula

~Sage

I took a handful of the mixture and placed them in a large bowl with a generous splash of Witch Hazel. I boiled water,  poured it over the herbs and placed my head and bowl under a towel for 10 minutes. What a treat!

Drink water!

April 15, 2010

We all know we need to drink it. But are we really drinking enough? I know I don’t. If you divide your weight in half (using pounds), that is precisely how many ounces of water your body needs in order to regulate its temperature, provide the means for nutrients to travel to your organs and to rid your body of the toxins we humans, take in every day. Twenty percent of your water will need to come from the food you eat and the rest via beverage.

I love water, but sometimes I just can’t swallow the idea of drinking tons of flavorless water. It really depends on my mood. Solution…add tasty fruits, herbs or even veggies! I like to add some sort of citrus fruit, mint leaves and slices of cucumber. Today I didn’t have any cucumber so I added a second citrus just for fun.  Get creative!

Today, I chopped up some lime, grape fruit and fresh mint leaves! I like to fill up a pitcher each day (and hopefully refill it through out the day) so that the tasty water is ready for me or any guests who happen to stop by. Enjoy!

Hibiscus in a glass!

April 13, 2010

I absolutely LOVE to cook. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than cooking a new recipe and having it turn out much better than expected (well, I’m sure there are a few things more satisfying, but you get the drift). I also LOVE to explore herbs, spices and their medicinal properties. My herb/flower this week is Hibiscus, which I have turned into a delightful juice or tea. There are some amazing health benefits to the flower so I thought I would share.

Hibiscus tea provides a healthy dose of cancer fighting antioxidants and immunity boosters. In addition to being rich in vitamin C, controlling blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and guarding against cellular damage, hibiscus tea may also reduce cholesterol by dilating blood vessels. Plus, hibiscus tea contains an enzyme inhibitor that impedes the production of amylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down sugar and starches. That means drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after eating may reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and thus, promote weight loss. It has also been suggested that hibiscus tea can prevent bladder infections and constipation. In all, hibiscus tea is an excellent beverage choice that is believed to improve many areas of health.

The preparation of tasty Hibiscus Juice/Tea (measurements are never exact):

Most health food stores carry it in bulk, I feel really lucky that here in Antigua I can purchase it very cheaply at the local market.

Take one cup (more or less) of dried Hibiscus blossoms and place in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. The water will be a rich in the color red. Strain the water and place in the fridge to cool.

Pour into a nice glass filled with ice, add Mint or Yerba Buena leaves, lime and there you have it. Some people like to add sugar, but I prefer to taste my herbs in all it’s glory.